|Three bikes: two vandalized, one attempted.|
These are the bike racks near the northern entrance to the New York Avenue/Florida Avenue/Gallaudet University metro station. I've written before about bicycle parking at this station, and I've noted that bicycles get stolen (or at least have parts stolen off them) with alarming frequency here.
On my way home from work Tuesday, I found that someone had attempted to steal my bicycle. I had a rear wheel stolen here in the spring, and since then I've taken the time to make sure that my front and rear wheels are locked, in addition to the bicycle frame. This time, they got far enough to remove the rear axle before realizing they weren't going to be able to get anything of value. The axle was left on the ground, and the the wheel had been pulled from the frame, but the U-lock prevented its removal.
Previously, I had asked the station manager how to get abandoned bicycle frames removed. I also asked whether there was any regular patrol of this area, which is somewhat hidden from sight. To say that he was unhelpful would be too kind and diplomatic. My experience with metro station managers leads me to believe that many of them serve little more purpose than filling the empty space inside a reflective vest.
Earlier this month, when parts were stolen from the bike on the left, I reported it to the Metro Transit Police. Nothing happened. This time, I called again and complained about the lack of action, noted a clear pattern, and asked that something be done. I finally saw some action on Wednesday morning.
The Metro Transit Police placed the orange notice on the latest vandalized bike. It is now considered abandoned property and will be removed by the end of next week. The other bike has a removal notice from DDOT. I'm not sure why there are two different agencies responding to the same situation, but I'll be happy to see these bikes removed. Leaving them there is a prime example of broken windows theory. Thieves can see that the area is not cared for, which does nothing to discourage criminal behavior.
|Metro vehicles serve as a virtual wall,|
shielding criminals from the eyes of the public.
Until Metro gets on the ball and actually enforces common-sense rules, like requiring its employees to park cars in real parking spaces, this isn't a smart place to park a bicycle. If you are going to park here, ABSOLUTELY make sure you use both a cable lock and a U-lock AT THE MINIMUM to secure your bike. Lock up your seat and remove any accessories. There is a professional bike thief at work here, and he knows that he can act with impunity (the thefts I've seen have all happened sometime between noon and 6 pm—broad daylight).